Responsibility for a threat to life and health, what to do if threatened

Threat to life - Article 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the punishment for which is up to 5 years in prison, is applied in cases where threats were made against the victim or a certain social group of people about causing grievous harm to their health, or a desire to inflict injuries incompatible with life.

An important nuance is that the case will be investigated and the necessary decision will be made on it if the injured party had every reason to fear the aggression directed at him.

If possible, it is necessary to collect all the evidence that is available and send a statement along with it to the prosecutor or the police department.

Facts confirming threats against you may include photographs and videos, audio recordings, printed messages, recordings of telephone conversations, witness statements, etc.

What actions qualify as a threat?

To bring the threatening citizen to justice, it is necessary that intimidation constitute a crime. This is determined by the presence of the following signs:

  • the act was committed with intent;
  • the actions are aimed at mental violence against the victim, that is, the person believed in the reality of the threat;
  • there are objective reasons to fear that the threats put forward will be translated into action.

The reality of the threat will be confirmed if, at the time of its commission, the offender accompanied the intimidation with other actions - he beat the victim, tried to strangle him, had in his hands a weapon or an object that could cause serious harm to the health or life of the victim.


Two comrades, Ivan and Nikolai, quarreled while drinking alcohol. Ivan, in the heat of a verbal skirmish, shouted: “I would kill you, but I don’t want to dirty my hands.” After some time, the conflict was settled, and the comrades went home. The next day, Nikolai wrote a statement regarding the death threat. The initiation of a criminal case was refused due to the lack of corpus delicti.

If, at the moment of shouting out threats, Ivan had picked up a stick, reinforcement, or other object, or had used physical force on Nikolai, then this would have been qualified as a threat, and Ivan could have been held accountable.

For criminal prosecution, the threat must be aimed at taking the life or causing serious harm to the health of the victim.

If a person is intimidated by harm to his property, for example, by burning a car or apartment, then he cannot be held accountable for such actions. In this case, a criminal case will be initiated only upon the commission of an unlawful act.

Explanations on the article

In connection with Article 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, it is worth considering several important issues that affect the qualification of the offense. Before filing a police report, you must:

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  • Prove the possibility of implementing threats. Just a verbal promise is not enough, because it does not mean that the perpetrator had real ways to put his threats into action.
  • Article 119 punishes threats with weapons only if they threatened to kill or maim. That is, in the event of a threat to damage property (set fire to a house, blow up a car), it will not be possible to hold someone accountable within the framework of this rule of law.
  • The transition from a threat with a knife directly to a blow is the basis for reclassifying the act as attempted murder.
  • If the threat is part of another crime, the attacker will not be prosecuted under Article 119. He will be held liable under the main article for a more serious crime.
  • It is possible to admit guilt only if the subject confirms the fact of the threats and realizes his guilt in this.
  • The manner in which the threat is presented does not matter in determining the punishment. It can be transmitted during a phone conversation, via SMS or letter. In any case, the perpetrator will be held accountable for the threat if the fact of its transmission is proven.

All this requires an individual approach when considering specific cases of threats. It is important to take into account not only the availability of evidence from the victim, but also the position of the accused.

What should the victim do?

You should not take lightly a threat made against a citizen. Potential victims should take steps to ensure their own safety. To do this, after receiving a threat against yourself or other people, you must immediately contact the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The statement states:

  • personal data of the applicant;
  • a description of the situation at which the threat was made;
  • the exact words that the victim took as a threat;
  • information about the person who made the threat, if this person is known to the victim;
  • other information that is relevant to the investigation.

At the end of the application, the victim’s handwritten signature and the date of contacting the authorities are placed.

The victim can contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs department independently or call police officers to the scene of the crime. Employees are required to accept the application and consider it within a period not exceeding 10 days.

If criminal intent is revealed in the actions of the offender, then a criminal case will be opened based on the fact of the complaint. If a criminal case is refused, the victim may appeal it to the prosecutor's office.

If the application is refused, the injured party may also contact the prosecutor's office or a judicial authority.

If the police do not take any action on the application, and the criminal subsequently translates his threats into actions, then the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will bear responsibility for this. They will face dismissal from service and trial.

Where to contact

Any instance of intimidation may be grounds for seeking help. In other words, if a citizen fears for his life, he can write a statement to the police. There you must write and submit an application, and in return the applicant must be given a document confirming his acceptance. Therefore, it is important to control the entry of details into a special journal. Then there is a real chance that a criminal case will still be initiated.

If for some reason law enforcement officials refuse to accept a statement from the victim, you should contact the prosecutor's office. There they will sort out the complaint and conduct an additional investigation into the fact of intimidation. If law enforcement agencies manage to obtain enough evidence in the case, the offender will be able to be brought to justice.


Unsubstantiated accusations of a threat to life and health cannot be considered by the police. Therefore, the victim needs to prepare evidence that the bullying was real. The evidence base depends on how the person was threatened.

When making threats in person, evidence will be:

  • audio or video recording;
  • witness's testimonies.

The victim can be intimidated by either an acquaintance or a stranger. If the criminal and the victim know each other, then it is necessary to provide the police with his personal information, including his residential address. If they are not familiar, then describe the appearance of the threat, special features, the vehicle in which he arrived, clothes and other details.

If a criminal intimidates a victim during a telephone conversation, then it is necessary to make an audio recording of such a conversation. The call recording function is present in all modern gadgets.

When making threats on social networks or SMS messages, evidence will be a screenshot or photograph of the screen. If the victim has received a letter containing intimidation, it must be handed over to law enforcement agencies. The police will conduct a handwriting examination, take fingerprints and carry out other investigative actions.

If, in addition to verbal intimidation, the offender used physical force against the victim, then it is necessary to record the fact of beating. This can be done at an emergency room or clinic. The police may order an additional forensic examination to determine the severity of the injuries. In this case, the offender will face punishment simultaneously under 2 articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - 119 and 116.


Oleg came to his ex-wife Ekaterina to pick up personal belongings. A quarrel broke out between them, as a result of which Oleg attacked Catherine, shouting “I’ll kill” and hit her in the face. Then he collected his things and left. Police officers who arrived at the scene took a statement regarding assault and death threats. A criminal case has been initiated against Oleg under two articles 119 and 116 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.


Responsibility for a threat to life and health is prescribed in Art. 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. If criminal intent is proven, the attacker faces:

  • restriction or imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years;
  • imprisonment for up to six months;
  • compulsory labor up to 480 hours;
  • forced labor for up to 2 years.

For the same act committed on the basis of political, national, religious or other hostility, the punishment will be much more serious. The offender faces up to 5 years of imprisonment or correctional labor.

If a crime is committed by a citizen in the performance of his official duties or public duty, then he will be subject to a restriction on performing certain activities for a period of up to 3 years.

According to the general rules of criminal law, a case can be closed upon reconciliation of the parties in the following cases:

  1. The criminal compensated the moral damage to the victim.
  2. The person responsible apologized for the threats made.
  3. The citizen who intimidated the victim had not previously been prosecuted.


Neighbors at the dacha, Olga and Elizaveta, had a domestic quarrel. The verbal altercation escalated into a brawl, during which Olga shouted threats at Elizabeth. Margarita, who witnessed the incident, called the local police officer. Upon the arrival of the police officer, the girls had already made up, and Elizabeth refused to write a statement against Olga. But an interview with witnesses revealed that threats were made against Elizabeth. The seriousness of the intentions was evidenced by the abrasions and bruises received during the fight. A criminal case was initiated, which was dismissed in court following the reconciliation of the parties.

To liability under Art. 119 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation can only involve a legally capable citizen who has reached the age of 16.

About the specifics of objective information

The article of criminal law precisely defines the basic norms of the object of the offender’s attack.

Crime against the person

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The specific style and content of the threat is objectively determined

  • At the same time, the corpus delicti according to Art. 119 in no way can there be a warning voiced to the injured party that rape, robbery, kidnapping is possible;
  • The victim must clearly and specifically understand the course of action, how and by what method of behavior the threat will be translated into real actions;
  • The fact of criminal liability occurs only if there are sufficient grounds presented;
  • Definition of motives as motives of a hooligan or careerist nature, feelings of jealousy, envy, hatred, desire for revenge.

Attention! The victim must indicate clear motives for the crime, the peculiarities of the relationship between the parties involved in the conflict, provide information about the personal characteristics of the perpetrator, and a description of the conditions when the threat was voiced.

If the intimidation comes from debt collectors

The largest number of proceedings under Art.
119 is associated with threats coming from collectors. According to the law, they do not have the right to frighten the debtor by using physical violence. Their powers include reminding the citizen about the existing debt to the credit institution, as well as the need to repay such debt. Sometimes debt collectors exceed their permissible authority and threaten the debtor.

In this case, the victim must report regularly received threats to the police. All calls from unknown numbers should be recorded on a voice recorder. The more evidence is collected, the easier it is to bring the perpetrator to justice.

If collectors personally come to the debtor’s apartment, try to break down the door or use physical violence against a citizen, then the police must be called immediately. At the same time, you should make an audio or video recording of what is happening, having previously warned the collectors about this.

Instances to contact in case of danger

Where to contact? The responsibility for protecting citizens from criminal attacks is assigned by law to the prosecutor's office and the police .

Without providing the facts, the authorities will not deal with the victim’s problems: it is necessary to try to make a video or audio recording of the communication with the culprit, warning him about this during registration.

Then the court will not have questions about the legality of recording the conversation.

When threats are accompanied by damage to property - breaking windows, breaking down doors, the police must be called. The protocol will not only confirm the threats, but also a reason to prosecute the blackmailer for damage to property, and the witnesses will be included in the document.

If it was not possible to collect evidence or the initiation of a criminal case was refused for another reason, the victim retains the right to appeal to the head of the investigative department, the prosecutor, or the court.

We must act and not give in to fear. Contacting the police is carried out in the following order :

  • make an application;
  • hand it to the duty officer and receive a mark;
  • within 10 days, withdraw the decision - positive or negative;
  • If you refuse to initiate a case, you must contact the prosecutor's office or court with evidence of the threat.

If danger occurs at night, you need to respond immediately - police telephones accept calls around the clock.

Upon an application being launched, all information is obtained from the investigator or prosecutor appointed for the investigation.

The difference between a threat and an attempt

An equally serious crime is attempted murder. When investigating a criminal case, even experienced police officers may find it difficult to distinguish between these crimes.

The main difference is the reasons why the crime was not completed. Attempt is a deliberate action aimed at committing a crime that was not completed for reasons beyond the control of the offender.


During the quarrel, citizen A. grabbed a knife and began to threaten citizen K. with deprivation of life. To prove the seriousness of his intentions, he struck one blow to the back, cutting the victim’s skin. The damage caused is classified as minor harm. The court decided to find citizen A. guilty under Art. 116 and art. 119. The article of attempted murder was not applied in this case, since citizen A could have committed a crime, but did not do so on his own initiative.

If, in the same situation, citizen A was prevented from committing a crime by other circumstances, for example, a stranger, then this would be qualified as an attempt, and citizen A would be given a more severe sentence.

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